DAY 21: Myers shows some sticky hands

PULLMAN— With the opener at Auburn exactly one week away, the Cougs took to Martin Stadium on Saturday. But someone forgot to tell the QBs. They started off sloppy, but ended up picking up the pace in the team session. Meanwhile, the depth at long snapper is looking thin -- CF.C asked Mike Leach and Eric Russell about that and other areas on special teams.

Mike Leach wasn't shy about breaking down his quarterbacks' performance after practice.

"I thought 7-on-7 was lousy," Leach said. "I thought (11-on-11) was pretty good…not great, but it was pretty good."

Junior QB Connor Halliday struggled with hitting receivers during skelly. Some of his passes didn't seem to have their usual zip - or he was overthrowing many of his receivers. Halliday only managed to throw one touchdown pass during the entire 7-on-7 session, to Gabe Marks.

Redshirt freshman QB Austin Apodaca sailed a few footballs over receiver's heads in skelly as well, but still completed a few more passes than Halliday. Apodaca also had one touchdown pass in skelly, improvising on the play and hitting Marks on a 35-yard strike. But the 7-on-7 looked like just one of those times you see late in a fall camp, when the QBs are simply out of sync.

JUNIOR WIDE RECEIVER Isiah Myers stood out most today – he caught two touchdown passes from both Halliday and Apodaca in 11-on-11. Myers has played both the X and Z receiver this fall camp and Leach likes his versatility.

"Myers has done a very impressive job of going both sides -- that does not always happen so easily," Leach said.

Halliday picked up his game and had a better outing in the team session. On one play, with a perfect pocket from the OL, Halliday zipped a pass for Marks, who sold-out and made a diving catch to move the chains. It was the play of the day in our book.

The o-line did a nice job on Saturday, providing a solid layer of protection for the Coug signal callers. When Apodaca took the field with the second unit, he had enough time to read his mail on one play. He finally let one go and and connected with sophomore WR Dominique Williams for a 20-yard TD. Apodaca also hit River Cracraft for a score.

BUT THE TEAM session started off on a good note for the defense.

On the very first play, sophomore DE Xavier Cooper came off the edge and "sacked" Halliday.

Later, true freshman CB Daquawn Brown picked Halliday off -- he made an excellent read on the ball, caught it, and darted downfield for what easily would have been a pick-six.

The defense also had a good day against the run game. In a short yard situation on the goal line, the ball was handed to sophomore RB Jeremiah Laufasa -- sophomore LB Darryl Monroe shed a block and stuffed Laufasa short of the end zone.

The offense started off poor, but managed to win the team session by the time it was done. That resulted in a set of up-downs for the defense.

ON SPECIAL TEAMS, the long snapper depth is a concern for the Cougs. In Bohler Athletic Complex, there are forms for students to fill out and audition as a long snapper.

There's junior long snapper Alex Den Bleyker, and unproven freshman walk on Jerred Sonneborn is probably the best option behind him.

"We need some snapper depth," special teams coach Eric Russell said. "We have got to improve our snapping situation…not necessarily for right now, but for future years to come."

Leach said the arithmetic should work in their favor.

"This university is 24,000 people, 12,000 males approximately (and) there are X number of football players and of those football players somebody can long snap," Leach said. "I promise you there (are) at least 20 people on this campus that can long snap."

THE RECENT ROTATION at punt returner has been sophomore WR Brett Bartolone, freshman WR Robert Lewis and senior RB Leon Brooks. When asked who he thought the returner would be if the Auburn game were tomorrow, Leach offered a name.

"…probably Brooks," Leach said. "He did last year and he just does a good job."

During the team session, senior kicker Andrew Furney had an opportunity to kick twice. He nailed a 42-yard kick right through the uprights. The other kick, which was straight into the wind, missed to the left from 45 yards out.

Running with the 1s:

OFFENSE
QB- Connor Halliday
RB- Teondray Caldwell
X Receiver- Dominique Williams
H Receiver- Robert Lewis
Y Receiver- Brett Bartolone
Z Receiver- Gabe Marks
LT- Gunnar Eklund
LG- Joe Dahl
C- Elliott Bosch
RG- John Fullington
RT- Rico Forbes

DEFENSE:
DE- Toni Pole
NT- Ioane Gauta
DE- Xavier Cooper
BUCK- Destiny Vaeao
SAM- Cyrus Coen
MIKE- Darryl Monroe
WILL- Justin Sagote
CB- Nolan Washington
CB – Damante Horton
S – Deone Bucannon
S – Taylor Taliulu

Limited Players:
WR Austin Baker
S Paris Taylor
OL Jacob Seydel
WR Brett Bartolone

Not in attendance:
LB Chester Sua
OL Matt Meyer
DL Paulo Lepua
S Darius Lemora
S Bennett Bontemps

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